Last year, while I was working on some deep change, an email came from a company I respect with a letter advertising a program to reset unconscious beliefs.
It sounded interesting, seemed timely and was not too expensive, so I decided to give it a try.
The materials had barely arrived when the inundation began: at least one & sometimes several emails a day sent from the new company advertising more of their own and often other people’s programs, each one guaranteed to be the answer I’d been seeking, FINALLY!
After a few days of this, I began to feel annoyed and a bit insulted! I took a good look at the program and asked myself some questions that I could have asked myself before I made the purchase. I realized that I had excellent methodologies to help me work with subconscious beliefs already in my repertoire, including a book I’d been reading by Greg Braden to help me word my own reprogramming instead of using someone else’s phrases.
I also felt that the authors mustn't really believe in their own program if they were not even willing to give a customer the opportunity to receive some benefit from it before trying to get them to buy something else. It felt more like they were looking for suckers than offering a service!
The truth is that while there are hundreds of great teachers and excellent programs out there, nobody needs them all, and nobody could possibly use them all. The bottom line is that the best teachers & resources help you tune into an internal source. No one else can know what is right for you, in your life, at this time.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to books and programs. I love checking out new ideas, and along the way have found some fabulous resources that have supported life-changing and life-enhancing growth.
So when, a couple of years ago, many of the major teachers and firms began offering free summits with dozens of speakers, or reams of bonus materials with the purchase of a newly launched book, I was like a kid set loose in a candy shop! And just like that kid, what started out as a thrilling adventure rather quickly began to leave me feeling more than a little surfeited. Recently I opened an email offering me 108 bonuses with a book that would FINALLY fix everything! Talk about overload! I have lost my hunger, but I am not nourished.
I realize that our quick-fix mentality is at play here. Instead of a pill for every ill, many of us want a program, modality or technique to fix everything once and for all. We want to find a teacher who has all the answers and will give them to us fast!
Sometimes it seems that way. Sometimes an inspiring teacher or program helps us change our perceptions and directions and we never look back.
However, I think most of us know that most of the time, real change takes real time.
When we continually respond to the barrage of opportunities and try this! then try that! we are like a gardener who keeps pulling up the seeds and trying new varieties because the plants did not appear overnight! We are stuck in a frantic superficial overdrive as though we are trying to lose weight by buying new clothes. No matter how much we buy, we are simply going about things in an ineffective manner.
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. - Gertrude Jekyll
Reiki teaches that 21 days are the minimum amount of time needed to change a habit. People who study brain rhythms and many energy practitioners say we need at least 6 weeks to change a belief. The specific length of time for either of these things probably differs from person to person and situation to situation. The common thread is the idea that we need to stick with something, use and develop some spiritual & mental discipline, make and keep (or keep re-making!) commitments, and apply patience and faith in order to see our efforts flourish.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. -Henry David Thoreau
In light of this I made a commitment to faithfully apply the tried and true tools already at hand, and to choose a couple of goals to work with over time. I am happy to report that this approach is bearing fruit, even in some of my more resistant areas. It hasn’t been dramatic, just effective in a sturdy and grounded way. By the way, I returned the program and removed myself from that company’s mailing list. I continue to opt out of lists anytime I feel like a ridiculous number of offers are being presented. For me, once a week or once a month is more than often enough to hear about the next thing on offer, and even that is too often if I feel a lack of respect for my intelligence in the marketing.
As these months have passed, I’ve found increasing clarity where I was having difficulty making decisions, and it has become easier to discern from the overwhelming choice which new materials might actually be worth my investment.
What have you learned or purchased and put aside before it had the chance to bring you the results you are seeking? Yoga? Reiki? EFT? Guided meditation CDs?
I encourage you to pick one or two things back up and stick with them. Take a little time to sense into what might fit for you now. That could include something new, but in either case make a commitment of time that seems reasonable to you, and do your best to honour that commitment. If you miss a day, don’t give up, just double your resolve to get back on track the next day!
I am not talking about an either/or situation; instant gratification vs dreary delayed gratification. Nor I am suggesting “no pain, no gain” grit your teeth and tough it out. Neither am I recommending a passive aimless twiddling of thumbs, hoping for external rescue. Rather, I am talking about respecting and loving the process of change both when it is quick, and when it evolves more slowly over time.
Focusing (one of the main skills I teach and employ) is like this. It takes time to learn. It requires slowing down to work at all. And although insights are available each time it is practiced, to bear the richest fruit it must be practiced over time.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ... Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” - Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
Anyone who’s ever been expecting a child knows how long nine months can seem at the beginning of a pregnancy, yet then suddenly the big day arrives and before long it’s strange to even remember a time when your child wasn’t part of your life.
I can tell you too that the family who enjoys each stage of the pregnancy has a happier nine months than the family who is focused only on the due date.
The kangaroo can do even better. She can spot a likely looking fellow with genes she’d like to pass on, get together to fertilize an egg and then, if the time is not right, she waits. She can actually hold her conception in some kind of suspended state until it’s safe, or she has enough food, or her previous joey is old enough to share...and then the pregnancy progresses! She knows how to wait and sense and then allow.
I love life! I love my life! I couldn’t say that if I needed everything to be perfect, every goal to be accomplished, every challenge already met before that could be true.
Ironically, even manifestation information can sometimes function to keep us always wanting more in a dissatisfied way, when so often much of what our hearts desire is already so much closer to hand than we realize while always looking & rushing toward a future accomplishment, acquisition or state of being. We get frustrated & judge ourselves for not being “there” yet.
“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now... the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
The slow food movement has brought a resurgence of consciousness around the existential pleasures and benefits of thoughtfully choosing, preparing and cooking food, and savouring it slowly and appreciatively, especially in family or community context.
While few of us could cook and eat slowly every meal of everyday, the slow food experience provides more than fuel, and is a multifaceted multi-sensory experience that fast food consumed fast simply cannot deliver.
The personal growth movement needs a slow food equivalent consciousness. Slow is not only potentially beautiful, sometimes it’s the only speed at which integration can occur.
I invite you to join me in savouring the journey. I wouldn’t dream of promising you that everything will FINALLY be instantly fixed, but I would be happy to support you in learning to love your life while you grow into deeper resonance with your heart’s desires.